Note: This ARC was provided by NineStar Press via IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review.
Based on the synopsis, I knew going into Justin's Season that it was more literary fiction than it was a romance. Set in 1988, this was the story of Justin Davis, a man who spent twelve years of his life drowning his sorrows and perceived shame in his addictions of choice--alcohol and drugs. He became a shadow of the potential football superstar others believed he could be. He undergoes a miraculous evolution and with the support and acceptance of some life-changing individuals, Justin's path veers in a slightly different direction. He embraces his sexuality and hopes to reclaim glory in the arena of sports once again. But adversities and challenges are bound to be met and how they're overcome sets him on a journey whose ending surprises not just those around him but Justin himself.
If you're looking for a love story, as in the typical falling in love with someone and living happily ever after kind, I suggest you look elsewhere. But if you're looking for the type of love story that involves a man who learns to love himself and the life that he ultimately chooses for himself, then I recommend you check out Justin's Season. For a debut, it's clear that S.M. Sawyer had a story to tell and he told it rather well. We see Justin, warts and all, and I couldn't help but cheer for him because he sincerely wanted to make changes in his life and pushed and persevered. His story isn't always an easy one to read, but if you let yourself to see his potential and how he owned up to his mistakes and took responsibility for his missteps, you'll want to truly stick it out and read it in its entirety.
This is a story about redemption and it's an inspirational one. I get that it may not be everyone's cup of tea and maybe it could come off as somewhat preachy to some. But I admire the author's vision and his obvious desire to share it with potential readers. S.M. Sawyer can undoubtedly write a good story, but he's also able to elicit emotions and give you something to think about while you walk with Justin on his journey. It's a fairly long read, but I was able to finish it one sitting, as is usually the case when I'm caught up in whatever it is I'm reading on my e-reader. If you're an M/M romance reader looking for something that's outside your wheelhouse (you'll get the baseball reference when you read the book), I suggest you give Justin's Season a fair shake. This receives five stars. ♥
Release Date: 23 February 2017
Date Read: 23 February 2017
Learn more about S.M. Sawyer.